Recovery of distressed assets

We are a leading team of specialist asset and debt recovery litigators with global experience of advising banks, financial institutions, governments, officeholders and other stakeholders with the recovery of non-performing loans and other forms of distressed debt, assets and financial securities.

We are a conflict-free disputes only law firm uniquely placed to work on recovery matters where other law firms may be conflicted. This often arises in financial services and other disputes involving major corporates and intragroup debt where other firms are conflicted because they provide transactional advice to companies and banks involved in the asset recovery.

Our team has broad and deep expertise in conducting heavyweight asset and debt recovery claims in a range of industries, often requiring the coordination of claims in multiple jurisdictions. Where necessary, we draw on the expertise of our insolvency, financial services, policyholder disputes, tax, trust and other commercial litigation specialists and deploy creative solutions to maximise our clients’ returns.

We can assist clients by reviewing distressed asset and debt portfolios to identify recovery options and develop the best strategies for realising returns. Our extensive experience of conducting substantial litigation and multi-party actions also enables us to advise on the defence, pursuit or settlement of claims relating to distressed assets in a wide range of contexts, including in insolvencies, frauds and corporate financial restructurings.

Many of our cases involve us working alongside specialist law firms from around the world. We have assisted clients in realising distressed debt and asset situations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, the US and several offshore jurisdictions, including the Cayman Islands, Guernsey and the British Virgin Islands.

Our lawyers have unrivalled experience in preparing innovative costs arrangements. We deploy risk-sharing fee agreements, third-party funding and after the event insurance to enable our clients to recover assets from a position of financial strength.

For the past three consecutive years, we have been recognised by The Times as one of the top recommended disputes firms in the UK. In recognition of the complex nature of our disputes work, our practices are highly ranked in the Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500 directories, and our cases are regularly listed in The Lawyer’s annual ‘Top 20’ cases.


Areas of focus

  • Advising creditors and other stakeholders on recovery options and strategies
  • Asset recovery disputes
  • Loan and bond disputes, including distressed debt
  • Insurance claims recoveries
  • Arbitration claims recoveries and recoveries by investors from government and state entities and relating to sovereign debt
  • Enforcing judgments and awards in the UK and overseas (including asset identification, registration and recovery strategies)


Highlights of our distressed assets cases include:

  • Acting for liquidators of an offshore company seeking to recover over US$800m of investor funds dissipated in a multi-jurisdictional fraud.
  • Advising a financial institution creditor on the recovery of debts from a US corporation secured against US$4bn of financial securities.
  • Assisting a creditor of an alternative assets management company with enforcing an overseas judgment in the UK to recover substantial cryptocurrency debts.
  • Assisting distressed debt investors with maximising returns on debt instruments purchased from a distressed issuer with an estimated value in the hundreds of millions. Combining our securities litigation and insolvency/asset recovery expertise, our strategy has involved identifying the strongest claims against parties involved in the circumstances leading to the failure of the issuer in the most suitable jurisdictions to secure the highest level of recoveries for the investors.
  • Successfully defending a listed company from unlawful action by a mezzanine lender aimed at providing leverage for a hostile takeover. We recovered substantial indemnity costs for the company in the expedited proceedings.
  • Representing a Danish oil and shipping company in relation to the recovery of US$5m of losses under a non-performing petroleum supply agreement in Liberia under the theft cover of the policyholder’s marine cargo insurance policy.
  • Acting for a central government body investigating a long-running corruption scheme instigated by a senior public official involving payment and receipt of bribes exceeding US$800m secured over a 30-year period. The matter involved entities and advisory teams across several jurisdictions. A worldwide freezing order for US$847m was obtained to secure assets to meet a future judgment.
  • Acting for the administrators of various UK hospitality and leisure businesses in relation to Covid-19 business interruption claims valued between £5m and £70m following the failure of the businesses caused by the UK government lockdowns and restrictions.
  • Acting for a multinational manufacturing conglomerate in relation to claims under its Trade Credit policy arising from key client defaults and insolvency.
  • Acting on behalf of an insolvent entity in an investment treaty claim filed at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) against a European country. The dispute, which was pursued under the Energy Charter Treaty, arose from changes to the European country’s regulatory framework to entice investments in the solar photovoltaic sector, which the insolvent entity argued led to its insolvency.*


* Based on the experience of Alejandro Garcia prior to joining Stewarts.

If you require assistance, please call us or email your enquiry.

Meet the distressed assets recovery team

Our team has broad and deep expertise in conducting heavyweight asset and debt recovery claims in a range of industries.

In recognition of the complex nature of our disputes work, our practices are highly ranked in the Chambers and Partners and The Legal 500 directories.

Sophie Lalor-Harbord - Senior Associate, Commercial Litigation and Media Disputes - Stewarts

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